Dexter Tosion Axle on Northen Tool 5x8 kit?

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Dexter Tosion Axle on Northen Tool 5x8 kit?

Postby absolutsnwbrdr » Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:54 pm

Planning my next build and was wondering if anyone has bolted a Dexter torsion axle assembly to a Northern Tool 5x8 trailer kit (bolt-together).

That's my plan, for a few reasons:

1.) I priced a custom welded 5x8 frame, and cheapest estimates came in around $1200 - just for a custom frame - no axle, tires, wheels, lights, coupler, etc. JUST A CUSTOM FRAME - STEEL AND LABOR. :?

2.) I can get a Northern Tool kit for less than $500. Add $280 for a Dexter torsion axle, $300 for larger wheels/tires (that I was planning on anyway), and that all still comes in less than the best custom frame estimate.

3.) A custom frame does not come with a certificate of origin, so registration/titling would be a pain in the a$$. Northern Tool is just like HF and gives you a MCO, and the trailer already has a VIN.

4.) Although the NT frame doesn't have some of the features that I had figured into the custom frame, I can still achieve everything that I wanted to - but using different methods. Overall geometry is still the same.


Before anyone asks.... yes, I got multiple estimates on my custom frame design: two places came in at $1200, another at $1400, and one at $2400 (dumba$$es).
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Re: Dexter Tosion Axle on Northen Tool 5x8 kit?

Postby KCStudly » Tue Nov 19, 2013 3:57 pm

Don't forget that you can sell the OEM axle and wheels to defer some more cost!
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Re: Dexter Tosion Axle on Northen Tool 5x8 kit?

Postby aggie79 » Tue Nov 19, 2013 5:08 pm

Zach,

That sounds like a good plan to me!

I had been considering something similar for my teardrop. My frame was built by a local welder for $750. (He supplied and fabricated the steel. I supplied all of the rest of the hardware.) I have an old HF trailer that has registration. I think I paid around $200 for it. I use the tag from it and put it on the teardrop when we go camping. Since I never use the HF trailer, I'm thinking about disposing it and using the registration on my teardrop to avoid the hassle of registration.

Take care,
Tom
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Re: Dexter Tosion Axle on Northen Tool 5x8 kit?

Postby MtnDon » Tue Nov 19, 2013 7:43 pm

I'm not sure if this would be something to cause trouble, but a torsion axle mounts to one point maybe 8 inches long, whereas a leaf spring axle places the load on the frame at two points a couple feet apart. It might be advisable to strengthen the frame in the area of the torsion axle mount. Anybody know for certain; I'm just wondering...
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Re: Dexter Tosion Axle on Northen Tool 5x8 kit?

Postby tkteardrop » Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:40 pm

My teardrop frame and axle is exactly what you are talking about. Northern Tool bolt together, Dexter torflex 0-degree and 14" tires.
I took a crossmember and inserted into side rail where the axle mounts to frame. 5 years old and no problems74952
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Re: Dexter Tosion Axle on Northen Tool 5x8 kit?

Postby alaska teardrop » Wed Nov 20, 2013 10:45 am

tkteardrop wrote:My teardrop frame and axle is exactly what you are talking about. Northern Tool bolt together, Dexter torflex 0-degree and 14" tires.
I took a crossmember and inserted into side rail where the axle mounts to frame. 5 years old and no problems74952

:thumbsup: TK, I'm wondering if we might see pictures of how you attached your axle?
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Re: Dexter Tosion Axle on Northen Tool 5x8 kit?

Postby tkteardrop » Wed Nov 20, 2013 11:09 am

Sorry, I don't have any photos. I bolted the axle to the bottom of the frame .
I've also done this to 3 Harbor Freight trailers with no problems (2 teardrops both 58" wide cabins and 1 utility 2000lb trailer 50" wide)
Correction - NT trailer frame is 4 years old.
Last edited by tkteardrop on Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dexter Tosion Axle on Northen Tool 5x8 kit?

Postby alaska teardrop » Wed Nov 20, 2013 11:19 am

    :thumbsup: Zack, I think that you're approach is a sensible way of resolving a number of issues & improving a utility trailer of that type.
    Image
    It looks like a good platform. I wonder if you could give us a weight without the springs, axle & wheels?
    Thanks, Fred
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Re: Dexter Tosion Axle on Northen Tool 5x8 kit?

Postby absolutsnwbrdr » Wed Nov 20, 2013 4:15 pm

KCStudly wrote:Don't forget that you can sell the OEM axle and wheels to defer some more cost!


I was thinking the same thing. Probably wouldn't get much, but I'm sure somebody would be interested.

aggie79 wrote:Zach,

That sounds like a good plan to me!

I had been considering something similar for my teardrop. My frame was built by a local welder for $750. (He supplied and fabricated the steel. I supplied all of the rest of the hardware.) I have an old HF trailer that has registration. I think I paid around $200 for it. I use the tag from it and put it on the teardrop when we go camping. Since I never use the HF trailer, I'm thinking about disposing it and using the registration on my teardrop to avoid the hassle of registration.

Take care,
Tom


The whole registration thing is a racket. Especially in PA, but I'm sure many other states are just as difficult. When sent my trailer frame drawings out for estimate, I was thinking maybe $800-1000. Then I got the estimates which were a bit higher. Then I got to thinking about the NT trailer. Its basic, but it'll get the job done, and for a reasonable price.

MtnDon wrote:I'm not sure if this would be something to cause trouble, but a torsion axle mounts to one point maybe 8 inches long, whereas a leaf spring axle places the load on the frame at two points a couple feet apart. It might be advisable to strengthen the frame in the area of the torsion axle mount. Anybody know for certain; I'm just wondering...


Probably not a bad idea to reinforce the rails where the axle mounts. Although, once the teardrop body is built onto the frame, the whole thing turns into a torsion box assembly, and then the extra reinforcing might not be necessary.

tkteardrop wrote:My teardrop frame and axle is exactly what you are talking about. Northern Tool bolt together, Dexter torflex 0-degree and 14" tires.
I took a crossmember and inserted into side rail where the axle mounts to frame. 5 years old and no problems74952


Awesome! Looks good! Reinforcing the side rails is probably a good idea, just to be sure. I did a quick rework on my 2D CAD model, and the NT trailer will work fine. Instead of a 10-degree down axle (on my custom designed frame), looks like I'll be using a 22.5 degree down. I haven't decided yet on 14" or 15" wheels, but I'm leaning towards 15".

alaska teardrop wrote::thumbsup: Zack, I think that you're approach is a sensible way of resolving a number of issues & improving a utility trailer of that type. It was discussed in Krustys' recent thread. It looks like a good platform. I wonder if you could give us a weight without the springs, axle & wheels? Thanks, Fred


Thanks for the link Fred! Yeah, thats the trailer kit. As far as I can tell, the NT trailer is identical to the HF trailer (but 12 inches wider). I've built both my teardrops (plus one for a friend) on the HF trailers, and they've held up well. Not sure about the weight, but when I finally get the trailer kit I'll try to get a weight for you.
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Re: Dexter Tosion Axle on Northen Tool 5x8 kit?

Postby angib » Wed Nov 20, 2013 5:15 pm

This sounds a practical idea - buying a new trailer and replacing the axle seems wrong, but you can't beat mass production for a cheap frame.

I don't see why any strengthening is necessary. If you were going to use it as a utility trailer, then maybe there might be a need - but to carry a teardrop body, no need at all. Anyway I'm guessing you will need to keep the axle mount, to connect the front and back of the the frame, so that's some reinforcement.
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Re: Dexter Tosion Axle on Northen Tool 5x8 kit?

Postby tkteardrop » Wed Nov 20, 2013 6:58 pm

The strengthening of the area where the axle mounts is just a benifit when inserting the crossmember into the side rails.
Last edited by tkteardrop on Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dexter Tosion Axle on Northen Tool 5x8 kit?

Postby alaska teardrop » Wed Nov 20, 2013 10:30 pm

Thanks for the link Fred! Yeah, thats the trailer kit. As far as I can tell, the NT trailer is identical to the HF trailer (but 12 inches wider). I've built both my teardrops (plus one for a friend) on the HF trailers, and they've held up well. Not sure about the weight, but when I finally get the trailer kit I'll try to get a weight for you.
    If that is the trailer, it is unlike the HF kit in that it doesn't fold up. The side rails are full length. Therefore, the Dexter axle may be mounted to the rails at the best balance point.
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Re: Dexter Tosion Axle on Northen Tool 5x8 kit?

Postby absolutsnwbrdr » Thu Nov 21, 2013 9:16 am

You just made my day! I was wondering what flexibility I would have in determining an axle location, but the one-piece rails take care of that! Now I can put my axle assembly exactly where I need it!

My HF trailer doesn't fold, but as you know each side rails is two piece, so the intended assembly relies on two cross members back to back AND the leaf spring bracket for support. You've just pointed out another reason why the NT kit is the perfect candidate for this axle swap. Thanks!
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Re: Dexter Tosion Axle on Northen Tool 5x8 kit?

Postby tkteardrop » Thu Nov 21, 2013 11:19 am

Sorry guys this is the same trailer as I purchased in December of 2008 Item #125692 same price even.
The bonus is it hasn't gone up in price and it is a great trailer (about 6000 miles)
Last edited by tkteardrop on Fri Nov 29, 2013 8:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dexter Tosion Axle on Northen Tool 5x8 kit?

Postby absolutsnwbrdr » Thu Nov 21, 2013 11:46 am

Hmmmm... NT has two 5x8 trailer kits listed on their site. Both of their assembly manuals show the side rails to be single piece rails. They must have changed their kits since 2008. If you zoom in on their images, you can even see that theres no break in the middle. Just a single crossmember at the midpoint.
Last edited by absolutsnwbrdr on Thu Nov 21, 2013 11:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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